Now On BluRay!
Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Dame May Whitty, Richard Ney
1943 - 9 Oscars in 6 categories, 8 Oscar nominations in 6 categories
Have you ever known a family that, no matter how down things get, they're always cheerful and happy, making the best of things? The couple never fights, the children are always well behaved and well dressed, they live life as if nothing could ever go wrong, and when it does, they just continue to be their happy selves anyway?
Mrs. Miniver (Greer Garson) has it all: A wealthy husband, nice clothes, a big, beautiful home, wonderful children, good looks and a happy disposition. She even had a rose named after her by a guy at the railroad station who engages in botany as a hobby.
Her son, Vin (Richard Ney), is a University grad, full of smarts. He comes back home a little full of himself, but he loses that soon enough.
This movie was a big time Oscar Awards winner in 1943. Following an upper crust family in England at the start of WWII, it takes the viewer through the pleasant life of the Miniver family before the war and shows the strength and beauty of a nurturing mother and cherished member of the community as the war devastates her home and family. Through it all, though, Mrs. Miniver and her husband (Walter Pidgeon) remain calm and collected.
The storyline is nice. A beautiful woman of affluence has a rose named after her, and the rose is entered into a botanic beauty pagent. For the last seemingly gazillion and a half years, the winner of the contest has been "Lady Beldon" - a rose named after a local aristocrat (played by Dame May Whitty).
Lady Beldon has a beautiful grand daughter named Carol (played by Teresa Wright), who she is very protective of.
When Vin meets Carol, sparks fly from friction as he accuses her, basically, of being a snob and starts getting political with her. But as it turns out, the two seem to enjoy each others company which prompts him to grow out of his sophomoric behavior and starts acting like a gentleman. He then proceeds to court the lovely young miss.
Now, Lady Beldon doesn't come across as much of a happy sort, in fact, she's rather snappy. The very idea that her rose is now in competition with Mrs. Miniver is not pleasing to her at all. Alas, the old crow discovers she is in competition not just over a flower, but also concerning her granddaughter. She's just not going to put up with her granddaughter and Vin falling in love, because she's sure there's got to be something socially improper about that.
To add to the woes of these two families, England has now entered into WWII and Vin joins the military.
So the happy family Miniver rides out the war spending nights in their bomb shelter and eventually facing devastation of their home. But does that get them down? No.
These people are so calm and so collected that it's almost creepy, in a comical sort of way.
For example, they're in their bomb shelter acting as happy go lucky as can be. Mr. Miniver goes out of the shelter to smoke his pipe. After a moment or so she joins him. There they sit, looking off into the not too far off horizon watching planes drop bombs on their city!
Do they look or act shocked, scared, traumatized, or in the least bit concerned? Are they picking their jaws up off the ground? Are their mouths gaping open? No. They just sit there watching it with whimsical looks on their faces as if they were observing some kind of exhibit. They then return to their shelter.
This wasn't the only scene that made me look twice.
For example, a German plane crashes near Mrs. Miniver's house and it's badly injured pilot makes his way to the house and holds her at gunpoint, then collapses. She removes his weapon and calls for help.
So later she and her husband are in their bedroom discussing this "event" and she's lighting a cigarette for him. But then she tosses the match forward - across the top of their bed. I couldn’t help but wonder where she was tossing the match - there was a big fireplace situated behind her.
Then there's a bomb shelter scene where they're all cool and collected - she's knitting and smiling, he's sipping tea. They're reading together from books and just basically cooing about life.
At some point, their house is badly damaged - and they return to it and act as if nothing happened. No shock, no tears, no trauma. They just warmly welcome some guests and show them to their room. One kid is playing the piano. Life is good. Tra la la.
To back up a little - Mrs. Miniver has managed to warm Lady Beldon up to the point where she opens up and joins humanity. So she tells the story of her own husband - she was 16 when she married him and he went off to war right away and was killed in action. No mention of her ever having married again - or, if there was, I didn't catch it. So where did her granddaughter come from? I must have missed the part that explained that.
When you receive your movie on BluRay, be sure to check out these enjoyable special features:
- Mr Blabbermouth - docu-drama about a gossipy man who spread bigotry and misinformation wherever he goes
- For The Common Defense - Short drama from the 'Crime Doesn't Pay' series
- Blitzwolf - A WWII era anti-Hitler cartoon
- 1942 Academy Award Newsreel - Greer Garson receives an award
- Mrs. Miniver Theatrical Trailer
A toast to Warner Brothers for 90 incredible years of entertainment! Here's to at least 90 more!